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What SIBOS 2022 Told Me About Payment Tech’s Future in 2023

SIBOS is well and truly over. So, what did it mean for you? Sore feet from walking the conference floor and a sore head from so much talk and debate? 

My personal takeaways from the event start with how exciting it was to be enjoying a full-blooded event, meeting clients, media, and peers in the industry.

Out of all of the chatter, some old and new themes rang out clearly for me. 

In no particular order I was struck by how conversations about central banks starting up digital currencies were very common on the floor and in presentations at SIBOS.  

It’s been known for a year or so that central banks from countries as diverse as Sweden, Israel, Australia and now India are running pilots for central bank digital currencies.  There’s over 100 countries looking at CBDCs. There is expectation that India may take a leading role in pushing for nations coordinating their CDBC plans. This is because of the country’s 2023 presidency of the G-20 group of nations and its finance ministers declaration that crypto currencies will be very much on the group’s agenda.

From what was being said at SIBOS, 2023 may be a pivotal year for those pilots to turn into something more serious and CDBCs may be an upcoming payment method that the financial payments technology industry as a whole will have to adjust to. Payment platforms and processes may need some re-engineering to accommodate CDBCs and this might stretch those platforms that are less able to adapt to change. 

However, any thoughts about CDBCs were overshadowed by the biggest elephant in the room for banks and corporates: how the current economic crisis is unfolding and the pivotal role of banks in keeping businesses alive and kicking through efficient payment systems. 

What the post SIBOS challenge boils down to for banks is how they balance the need for operational efficiencies with how they process payments, while also being adaptable to changes and managing exceptions thrown up by everything from fast changing sanctions regimes and regulatory movements. There’s also the increasing growth in new payment methods through peer to peer, digital wallets and new payment entrants.

So, it was little surprise for me that the subject of nearly every client meeting at SIBOS was how to achieve the best blend of efficiency and adaptability in payment systems. 

SIBOS should be a window of new technology too. There was a smattering of banking in metaverse pitches. From the demonstrations that I experienced, going into a virtual world to do undertake virtual shopping is a distinctly underwhelming experience today. Set against other real-world issues, a use case for the metaverse in banking doesn’t seem to really exist right now.

Some banks who are worried about the economic storms may have found those metaverse experiences a pleasant excursion away from reality, but everyone knows there is serious work to be done in 2023 to support businesses through rocky times.


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